UEFA announce Europe-wide agent probe
European football's governing body have announced their own investigation into the role of agents, drawing up a list of recommendations designed to reduce corruption in the game and present a better image for football.
Following the third and final meeting of the UEFA agents workshop - whose members include Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein - UEFA chief executive Lars Christer Olsson said some 50 recommendations were being drawn up in an effort to regulate the conduct of agents Europe-wide.
UEFA are not revealing details of the recommendations, which will be sent to FIFA within the next few weeks with a call for urgent action.
But it is understood they fall into three categories: what qualifies someone to become an agent, agents' role in the game and how to enforce often conflicting regulations for any perceived misdemenours.
``We have indications from some governments that they are afraid that some agents are involved in money-laundering,'' said Olsson.
Olsson also welcomed the Premier League's own separate inquiry into football corruption, announced yesterday. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore promised an independent inquiry into transfer deals concluded since January 2004.
``I think that is the natural consequence of the allegations that have emerged in England,'' he said.
``But there is perhaps also a need for a global approach in terms of better control. Perhaps an agent, for instance, should be checked every second year with an exam.
``We think that is a reasonable demand. Many of them handle huge amounts of money. Today any lawyer can seemingly act as an agent. Is he serious as an agent?''
The announcement by UEFA follows recent allegations regarding agents from managers in the English game, first from Luton manager Mike Newell and then QPR boss Ian Holloway.
Then came England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson's allegations in the News Of The World about three Premiership clubs, who have not been named.
Olsson also announced that steps were being taken to curtail what he has already described as a potential crisis to hit world football.
Two recent club-versus-country legal cases involving players injured while on international duty - one in France, the other in Belgium - have rocked the game's authorities with demands for compensation.
Olsson gave his backing to a new system of insurance payouts to clubs with players competing in major tournaments, possibly even starting at this summer's World Cup and definitely to be in place by the 2008 European Championship.
``If the two players currently in the spotlight would have had proper insurance, we probably wouldn't have had either of these cases,'' Olsson said after UEFA's executive committee meeting.
``We have been asked to look into whether it is possible to find global solutions so that there will be proper insurance for players when they are playing for their national teams.
``We believe it is better to agree things than to see each other in court.''
Olsson also revealed he would be meeting next week with sports minister Richard Caborn for more talks over the joint EU-UEFA review of European football, set up last year as part of Britain's presidency of European Union.
Olsson declared there would be three specific groups tackling a legal, financial and political review of the game including money-laundering, good governance and multi-ownership of clubs.